Information foraging theory (IFT) has emerged within the previous decade as a way of explaining the behavior of individuals as they hunt for information (Pirolli, 2007). In IFT, users forage for information using their metaphorical sense of smell which helps guides them through patchy areas of their environment. This preliminary research leverages IFT to build two versions of a clickstream model of information foraging that uses clickstream data to explain goal achievement. The goal being examined is the purchase of a product or submission of a contact form at long tail websites (i.e., sites with limited traffic). The first version of the model uses session-level panel data to examine across-website goal-seeking browsing patterns. Page-level data is used in the second version of the model to reason about browsing patterns within a website. The hypotheses and their related measures are presented for each version of the model.
McCart, James A.; Berndt, Donald J.; Padmanabhan, Balaji; and Jones, Joni L., "Goal Attainment on Long Tail Websites: An Information Foraging Approach" (2009). AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. 556.